- What do you want the site to do? Online brochure, generate leads. If you are doing e-commerce do you have a few things to sell, a whole line of products or just a membership/subscription. Are you a blogger, graphic designer or something else where you want a portfolio online?
- What are you trying to achieve? Sell an item, newsletter subscriber, social media follower?
- Who is the target audience?
- Who is the most typical customer
There are some set costs to having a website - getting a domain name and web hosting are two of the big ones.
- Owning a domain name runs about $5-10 a year.
- Shared hosting will generally run you 60-100 a year. There are thousands of companies out there but check with your developer to see what they use. Mettler Solutions uses Site5 for our smaller companies and a variety of others (Digital Ocean, PythonAnywhere, LiquidWeb) depending on the type of system.
Layout & Wireframes
- Using a computer program or old fashion pen and paper - lay out the design of each page of the site - this is called a wireframe.
- Functionality - figure out the functionality you need - contact forms, social media links, newsletter sign up forms to simple buttons. And the biggest of all - shopping carts!
- Figure out how many pages you need. Examples include "About Us", "Contact", "Portfolio", "Services", etc. How many pages you want or need will have a direct impact on cost of website.
- Each page will need to be styled with it's own graphics, images and buttons. Brainstorm about each element on the page, what purpose it serves and how prominent it's place must be.
Create the Content
- Every page must have content - if you don't have that you'll have to look to outside sources.
- Simple copy is usually around $150-$200 per page.
- Do you need a logo or other graphic design work done? If you are doing a slider or other types of images - do you have the photography?
- If you have wireframes and content - the design process becomes much easier as the designer only has to worry about about the look and feel - not organization and structure.
- When using WordPress, this is where you pick the theme. If you want to use a one out of the box and not have to do much customizing - it is much easier to find what you need when you know what you need it to look like and contain.
- Security - being hacked is extremely bad for business
- SEO - fresh content is essential but how much more do you need? Sites created on WordPress tend to already have a leg up but there are tools you can use to get the website ready for SEO. These included added hyper-targeted keywords to titles, descriptions, alt tags and header tags, submitting an XML site map to search engines and optimizing your links.
- Competition - always up to something new as you should be
- Trends - people are always looking for the newest trend so make sure your site looks up to date from a visual and design point of view